The real desktop

In all probability your next PC is going to be an all-in-one.
Nandagopal Rajan        Print Edition: June 2013

Yes, everyone loves the form factor of the all-in-one (AiO), which is essentially a computer yoked to the back of the screen. But apprehensions about productivity have put off many people from going ahead and bringing one of these devices home. Till a year ago most purchases of all-in-ones were influenced by space constraints. Now, however, the all-in-one has become a complete PC.

1) IT CAN REPLACE THE DESKTOP
The all-in-one is now good enough to replace your old desktop. If you are willing to spend, the latest ones can have third generation Intel Core i7 processors and 16GB RAMs. With specs like these, AiOs can be used for gaming and other resource-intensive uses like video editing.

2) IT SAVES SPACE
The form factor still remains the USPs of the all-in-one. It is a single unit with the CPU, webcam and speakers integrated into the display unit itself. So it will use only a bit more space than your PC monitor. For input, you have the option on a wireless keyboard and mouse along with the touchscreen in high-end devices.

3) IT SAVES POWER
An all-in-one usually has just one wire coming out of the main unit. This also means there is just one unit that consumes power in this set-up. For an average user this means less consumption of power. An AiO can give you up to an hour on a UPS compared to just 15 minutes for a regular desktop.

4) IT CAN DO MORE
They are good enough to replace even televisions, thanks to features like Lenovo's OneKey TV. This new technology turns the high-definition display into a television at the click of a button. Many have frameless designs like top-end flat panel televisions. The lean back design is ideal for consuming content.

5) IT IS IDEAL FOR TOUCH
HP has been making touchscreen AiOs for a quite a few years now. With Windows 8, touchscreen all-in-ones are getting a new push. Its screen-first kind of design makes it ideal for use on a touch-based environment. The new ones have 10-point touch which make them as good as tablets.

6) IT IS AFFORDABLE
While price was a big put off for all-in-ones earlier, the new breed gives buyers options at all price levels. If you are willing to compromise a bit on processing power and sacrifice a touchscreen, you can take home a decent AiO for as low as Rs 20,000. High-versions too offering top specs will cost upwards of Rs 1 lakh.

DISADVANTAGE
The only serious disadvantage left in the all-in-one is the fact that it is still not very conducive to upgrades. But there are high-end models like the HP Z series that have tool-less chassis models that allow easy upgrades.

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